KR100600038B1 - Low cost cmos tester with high channel density - Google Patents

Low cost cmos tester with high channel density Download PDF

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Publication number
KR100600038B1
KR100600038B1 KR1020007001210A KR20007001210A KR100600038B1 KR 100600038 B1 KR100600038 B1 KR 100600038B1 KR 1020007001210 A KR1020007001210 A KR 1020007001210A KR 20007001210 A KR20007001210 A KR 20007001210A KR 100600038 B1 KR100600038 B1 KR 100600038B1
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South Korea
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delay
output
input
integrated circuit
stage
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KR1020007001210A
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Korean (ko)
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KR20010022616A (en
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뭐팅제랄드에프.주니어
사르체프로날드에이.
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테라다인 인코퍼레이티드
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Priority to US08/906,532 priority Critical
Priority to US08/906,532 priority patent/US6073259A/en
Application filed by 테라다인 인코퍼레이티드 filed Critical 테라다인 인코퍼레이티드
Priority to PCT/US1998/015256 priority patent/WO1999008125A1/en
Publication of KR20010022616A publication Critical patent/KR20010022616A/en
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H03BASIC ELECTRONIC CIRCUITRY
    • H03LAUTOMATIC CONTROL, STARTING, SYNCHRONISATION, OR STABILISATION OF GENERATORS OF ELECTRONIC OSCILLATIONS OR PULSES
    • H03L7/00Automatic control of frequency or phase; Synchronisation
    • H03L7/06Automatic control of frequency or phase; Synchronisation using a reference signal applied to a frequency- or phase-locked loop
    • H03L7/08Details of the phase-locked loop
    • H03L7/0805Details of the phase-locked loop the loop being adapted to provide an additional control signal for use outside the loop
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01RMEASURING ELECTRIC VARIABLES; MEASURING MAGNETIC VARIABLES
    • G01R31/00Arrangements for testing electric properties; Arrangements for locating electric faults; Arrangements for electrical testing characterised by what is being tested not provided for elsewhere
    • G01R31/28Testing of electronic circuits, e.g. by signal tracer
    • G01R31/317Testing of digital circuits
    • G01R31/3181Functional testing
    • G01R31/319Tester hardware, i.e. output processing circuit
    • G01R31/31903Tester hardware, i.e. output processing circuit tester configuration
    • G01R31/31908Tester set-up, e.g. configuring the tester to the device under test [DUT], down loading test patterns
    • G01R31/3191Calibration
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01RMEASURING ELECTRIC VARIABLES; MEASURING MAGNETIC VARIABLES
    • G01R31/00Arrangements for testing electric properties; Arrangements for locating electric faults; Arrangements for electrical testing characterised by what is being tested not provided for elsewhere
    • G01R31/28Testing of electronic circuits, e.g. by signal tracer
    • G01R31/317Testing of digital circuits
    • G01R31/3181Functional testing
    • G01R31/319Tester hardware, i.e. output processing circuit
    • G01R31/31917Stimuli generation or application of test patterns to the device under test [DUT]
    • G01R31/31922Timing generation or clock distribution
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H03BASIC ELECTRONIC CIRCUITRY
    • H03KPULSE TECHNIQUE
    • H03K5/00Manipulating of pulses not covered by one of the other main groups of this subclass
    • H03K5/13Arrangements having a single output and transforming input signals into pulses delivered at desired time intervals
    • H03K5/131Digitally controlled
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H03BASIC ELECTRONIC CIRCUITRY
    • H03KPULSE TECHNIQUE
    • H03K5/00Manipulating of pulses not covered by one of the other main groups of this subclass
    • H03K5/13Arrangements having a single output and transforming input signals into pulses delivered at desired time intervals
    • H03K5/133Arrangements having a single output and transforming input signals into pulses delivered at desired time intervals using a chain of active delay devices
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H03BASIC ELECTRONIC CIRCUITRY
    • H03LAUTOMATIC CONTROL, STARTING, SYNCHRONISATION, OR STABILISATION OF GENERATORS OF ELECTRONIC OSCILLATIONS OR PULSES
    • H03L7/00Automatic control of frequency or phase; Synchronisation
    • H03L7/06Automatic control of frequency or phase; Synchronisation using a reference signal applied to a frequency- or phase-locked loop
    • H03L7/08Details of the phase-locked loop
    • H03L7/081Details of the phase-locked loop provided with an additional controlled phase shifter
    • H03L7/0812Details of the phase-locked loop provided with an additional controlled phase shifter and where no voltage or current controlled oscillator is used
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H03BASIC ELECTRONIC CIRCUITRY
    • H03KPULSE TECHNIQUE
    • H03K5/00Manipulating of pulses not covered by one of the other main groups of this subclass
    • H03K2005/00013Delay, i.e. output pulse is delayed after input pulse and pulse length of output pulse is dependent on pulse length of input pulse
    • H03K2005/00019Variable delay
    • H03K2005/00026Variable delay controlled by an analog electrical signal, e.g. obtained after conversion by a D/A converter
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H03BASIC ELECTRONIC CIRCUITRY
    • H03KPULSE TECHNIQUE
    • H03K5/00Manipulating of pulses not covered by one of the other main groups of this subclass
    • H03K2005/00013Delay, i.e. output pulse is delayed after input pulse and pulse length of output pulse is dependent on pulse length of input pulse
    • H03K2005/00019Variable delay
    • H03K2005/00058Variable delay controlled by a digital setting
    • H03K2005/00065Variable delay controlled by a digital setting by current control, e.g. by parallel current control transistors
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H03BASIC ELECTRONIC CIRCUITRY
    • H03KPULSE TECHNIQUE
    • H03K5/00Manipulating of pulses not covered by one of the other main groups of this subclass
    • H03K2005/00013Delay, i.e. output pulse is delayed after input pulse and pulse length of output pulse is dependent on pulse length of input pulse
    • H03K2005/00019Variable delay
    • H03K2005/00058Variable delay controlled by a digital setting
    • H03K2005/00071Variable delay controlled by a digital setting by adding capacitance as a load
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H03BASIC ELECTRONIC CIRCUITRY
    • H03KPULSE TECHNIQUE
    • H03K5/00Manipulating of pulses not covered by one of the other main groups of this subclass
    • H03K2005/00013Delay, i.e. output pulse is delayed after input pulse and pulse length of output pulse is dependent on pulse length of input pulse
    • H03K2005/0015Layout of the delay element
    • H03K2005/00195Layout of the delay element using FET's
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H03BASIC ELECTRONIC CIRCUITRY
    • H03KPULSE TECHNIQUE
    • H03K5/00Manipulating of pulses not covered by one of the other main groups of this subclass
    • H03K2005/00013Delay, i.e. output pulse is delayed after input pulse and pulse length of output pulse is dependent on pulse length of input pulse
    • H03K2005/0015Layout of the delay element
    • H03K2005/00195Layout of the delay element using FET's
    • H03K2005/00208Layout of the delay element using FET's using differential stages

Abstract

Automated test apparatus for semiconductor devices. Automated test devices contain numerous channels of electronic circuitry within which precisely timed test signals are generated. Significant advantages in cost and size are obtained by combining multiple channels on integrated circuit chips. In order to allow this level of integration without reducing timing accuracy, a series of design techniques are used. These techniques define the use of guard rings and guard layers, placement of circuit elements in relation to guard rings and guard layers, separate signal traces for power and ground for each channel, and voltage across the filter capacitor to correct the correction signal. Circuit design to be included. Another feature of the disclosed embodiments is a fine delay device design that can be controlled for delay variation and combines calibration features. Another published feature is a circuit that allows the tester to have a short repair recovery time.
Figure 112000002093851-pct00010
Semiconductor Devices, System Controllers, Timing Generators, Interpolators, Multiplexers, Delay Lines, Clocks, Delayed Synchronous Loops, Micro Delays, Calibration Registers, Switches, Differential Buffer Amplifiers, Delay Stages, Router Circuits

Description

LOW COST CMOS TESTER WITH HIGH CHANNEL DENSITY

FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention generally relates to automated test apparatus for semiconductors, and more particularly, to small and inexpensive semiconductor testers using chips with high channel density.

During fabrication, most semiconductor devices are tested at least once using several types of automated test apparatus (generally "testers"). Modern semiconductor chips have a large number of leads and must generate and measure signals for all leads simultaneously to fully test the semiconductor device.

Modern testers generally have a "per-pin" structure. A "pin" is a circuit in a tester that generates or measures one signal for a device under test. The "pin" is sometimes called the "channel". In the per pin structure, each channel can be independently controlled to generate and measure different signals. As a result, there are many channels in one tester. The channel is controlled by the pattern generator. The main function of the pattern generator is to send a command to each channel to program it to generate or measure one test signal for each cycle of tester operation.

Each channel typically contains several edge generators, drivers / comparators, and format circuits. Each edge generator is programmed to generate an edge signal (or to further simplify the "edge") at any time related to the start of each period. The format circuit receives a digital command from the pattern generator indicating which signal should be generated or measured during the period. Based on this information, the formatter combines the edges to be on and off commands for the driver / comparator. In this way, the driver or comparator measures or generates a signal of the correction value at the time of correction.

Each edge generator alternately consists of two basic pieces. It has a counter and an interpolator, each of which is programmable. The counter is clocked by the system clock. It is programmed to count periods of multiple system clocks and is triggered to start counting at the start of the tester period. In general, the period of the system clock will be smaller than the tester period so that the timing of the edges within the tester period can be controlled fairly, accurately and simply by counting the system clock.

However, if the time of the edge is only controlled by counting the system clock, then the resolution at which the edge can be generated will be equal to the period of the system clock. To test many semiconductor components, this resolution is not precise enough. Interpolators are used to provide more precise time resolution.

The interpolator delays the output of the counter by a programmable amount less than one period of the system clock. Thus, the resolution at which timing edges can be generated is limited by the resolution of the interpolator rather than the period of the system clock.

The difficulty with having an interpolator that provides less delay than the period of the system clock is that signals propagating through the interpolator cannot be clocked with respect to the system clock. In digital systems, timing inaccuracies and the effects of many other error sources are sometimes eliminated by clocking the signal on a reference clock.

The fact that the interpolator is not clocked creates a special problem for the tester when the channels are placed close together. Other signals within the tester may affect signals in another interpolator. This effect is called "cross talk". If the crosstalk is too large, the tester generates an errored output. The main source of crosstalk is "channel to channel crosstalk". If a signal in one channel transforms over the time that the interpolator generates an output, the transient signal generated by the conversion of the signal causes the interpolator output to fluctuate. If this fluctuation increases the interpolator output, the timing edge occurs earlier than intended. If the fluctuations reduce the output, the timing edge occurs later than intended. In this way, cross talk reduces the accuracy of the timing edges.

Crosstalk is also caused by interference of signals to multiple timing generators within each channel. Crosstalk, however, is worst when the signal converts violently at the time when the interpolator generates a timing edge. In general, the interpolator in the channel is programmed such that crosstalk generates the edge at a different time that does not affect the time of the timing edge generated by the interpolator.

We recognized that channel-to-channel crosstalk is worse than crosstalk inside the channel. For that reason, cross talk worsens when the channels are placed close to each other. One way in the prior art to eliminate the effects of cross talk is to keep the channels away from each other.

Channels are fabricated on integrated circuit chips. Until now, separate integrated circuit chips have been used to accommodate each channel. When built on the same integrated circuit chip, it was found that cross talk between channels prevented each channel from operating with the required accuracy. As described in detail below, a method of fabricating an integrated circuit chip for a semiconductor test system including multiple channels has been invented.

A great advantage can be obtained by integrating multiple channels on one chip in an integrated circuit test system. This allows testing of current semiconductor devices with a large number of leads, while reducing the overall size of the test system. The size of the test system is very important for semiconductor manufacturers. Sometimes semiconductors are tested in "clean rooms". In particular, to prevent corrosion of the semiconductor device from dust and other impurities before the semiconductor devices are packaged in a package, the clean room has an expensive filtering system. Each square foot of cleanroom space is very expensive to install and operate. Therefore, it is highly desirable to limit the size of devices placed in a clean room.

Another benefit of reducing the number of integrated circuit chips carrying channels in a test system is cost. The cost of silicon in a circuit in an integrated circuit is a small fraction of the overall cost of the device. Packaging silicon, making boards to house devices, and making frames to accommodate printed circuit boards all add significant costs to the end product. All of these costs increase with the number of integrated circuit chips.

Despite the enormous advantages of integrating multiple channels in one integrated circuit chip, testers to date have not achieved this advantage.

Summary of the Invention

With the above background in mind, it is an object of the present invention to provide a low cost tester.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide a small tester.

In addition, it is an object to provide a low cost compact tester with low cross talk between channels.

The above and another object is achieved in a tester having pin electronics technology implemented with an integrated circuit chip. Multiple channels are created on each integrated circuit chip. The integrated circuit chip includes a crosstalk suppression mechanism for the required accuracy. In a preferred embodiment, there are four channels on each integrated circuit chip. In one embodiment, the crosstalk suppression mechanism is an interpolator circuit design with high power dissipation. In another embodiment, separate power and ground routes are used for each channel. In another embodiment, the suppression mechanism is a separate receiving capacitor for each interpolator. In another embodiment, the suppression mechanism is to use a guard ring around each interpolator with a separate ground connection for each guard ring. In another embodiment, it is a Kelvin connection of each power and ground at the chip pad.

The invention is better understood with reference to the following detailed description and drawings.

1 is a sketch of a structure of a semiconductor tester,

2A is a simplified block diagram of one timing edge generator in the test system of the present invention;

2B is a simple configuration diagram of the control circuit shown in FIG. 2A;

2C is a schematic diagram of a simplified micro delay and current control circuit in FIG. 2A;

FIG. 2D is a schematic diagram of a simplified alignment delay circuit in FIG. 2A;

FIG. 2E is a schematic diagram of a simplified delay stage circuit in FIG. 2A;

3 is a block diagram illustrating power, ground, and shielding connections of multiple timing generators on a single integrated circuit chip;

4 is a simplified illustration of an implementation of edge generator shielding for multiple edge generators in a channel.

1 shows the tester 100 in a simple block diagram form. Tester 100 is controlled by test system controller 110. The test system controller 110 generates digital control values for each channel of the tester 100. The digital control values specify such things as when each channel should generate or measure a test signal, the value to be generated, and the format for the test signal.

Control information is provided during each cycle in which the tester operates. The data needed to specify what signal each channel should generate and measure during each cycle of testing is sometimes called a pattern. The pattern is stored in the memory 120.

In addition to providing digital control values, test system controller 110 provides a timing signal that identifies the start of each tester cycle. This timing signal is sometimes referred to as "T0" or "beginning of cycle (BOP)". Other parts of the tester operating on one cycle are triggered by the T0 signal.

In addition to the T0 signal, digital control values are also provided to the plurality of channels 114. Typical testers have between 64 and 1024 channels. However, the number of channels is not critical to the present invention. Each channel generally has the same circuit.

Within each channel 114 are a plurality of timing generators 116. Each timing generator 116 generates a timing edge that controls the time of an event in the tester 100. An event can be such as the beginning of a test pulse or the end of a test pulse applied to the device under test 112. Edges can also be used to trigger signal measurements from device under test 112.

The time at which the timing edge occurs is specified relative to the start of the cycle. Thus, the timing data indicates the amount of delay after the T0 signal when a timing edge should be generated. In a preferred embodiment, the timing information is specified by several groups of data bits, each group representing a more precise resolution time period. The most significant group of bits represents the delay as an integer in the system clock period. The amount of delay specified by the most significant group of bits is easily generated by counting an integer number of system clock pulses. The next most significant group of bits represents a delay at an interval that is a fraction of the system clock. These bits are sometimes referred to as the "fractional portion" of the timing data. This delay must be caused by the interpolator.

Timing edges from all timing generators 116 in a single channel are sent to a formatter 118. In addition to receiving timing edges, the formatter 118 also receives other control information from the test system controller 110. This control information may indicate the value of the test signal generated during one period, that is, logic 1 or logic 0. This may specify other things, such as the format of the signal applied to the circuit under test 112. For example, formats such as "zero return", "surround by complement", "one return", and "non zero return" are sometimes used. These formats may be imposed by the formatter 118.

1 illustrates a test system structure that describes the role of the timing generator 116. Other structures are possible. The particular source of control information for timing generator 116 and the particular use of timing edges in which they occur is not critical to the present invention.

In Fig. 2A, the circuit of the timing generator 116 according to the present invention is shown. Digital timing data from test system controller 110 is applied to timing generator 116. Timing generator 116 then produces a timing edge used by formatter 118 (FIG. 1) or elsewhere in this tester.

A digital delay line 210 is shown. The delay line is preferably a CMOS delay line, more preferably a differential delay line. The stage of the delay line is shown in more detail below with respect to FIG. 2E.

2A shows that sixteen delay stages 212 (1) ... 212 (16) are cascaded in delay line 210. The input to delay line 210 is derived from the system clock, which is shown as differential clock on lines CLOCKP and CLOCKN. Prior to application to delay line 210, the system clock is in the state of delay stage 212 (0). One or more delay stages may be used in this state. Delay stage 212 (0) is like any other step in delay line 210. In this way, the inputs of all delay stages 212 (1) ... 212 (16) in delay line 210 receive input signals from the same type of circuit. Thus, all delay stages 212 (1) ... 212 (16) receive an input with the same voltage swing, which results in a small change in the delay from stage to stage.

In a preferred embodiment, the system clock has a frequency of 100 MHz. However, the frequency of the system clock is not an important point of the present invention but a variable value. The system clock is preferably a very stable clock and is sent to all timing generators 116 in the tester 100.

The inputs and outputs of delay line 210 are sent to phase detector 214 through differential to single ended buffer amplifiers 237 (1) and 237 (2), respectively. The output of the phase detector 214 is sent to the control circuit 216. The control circuit 216 produces a control signal fed back to the control input VC at each delay stage 212. The control signal adjusts the delay through each delay stage 212. Delay line 210, phase detector 214, and control circuit 216 implement what is known as a delay locked loop. This loop is said to be "locked" when the delay through delay line 210 is equal to one period of the system clock. In the embodiment of Figure 2A, this results in each delay stage delaying the system clock by 1/16 of the system clock period.

Phase detector 214 is typically found in a delay locked loop. The control circuit 216 is similar to the charge pump used in the conventional delayed synchronization loop. However, as explained below, this has been modified to reduce cross talk between interpolators.

The output D0 of each delay stage 212 is sent to a differential multiplexer 220. The multiplexer 220 selects the output of one of the delay stages 212 by being specified by a particular bit of timing data. In Figure 2A, bits 4-7 represent the higher bits of the fractional portion of the timing data. Since the output of delay stage 212 is delayed by 1/16 of the system clock period, the output of multiplexer 220 provides a clock signal delayed by a factor of 1/16 of the system clock period.

In order to have a more accurate resolution in delay, the output of multiplexer 220 is sent to fine delay circuit 222. The fine delay circuit 222 is controlled by bits 0-3 of the timing data. Bits 0-3 represent an additional delay that is a multiple of 1/256 of the system clock period. The operation of the fine delay circuit 222 is described in more detail below with respect to FIG. 2C.

To provide greater accuracy, current control circuit 224 is used in conjunction with fine delay circuit 222. The operation of the current control circuit 224 is described below with respect to FIG. 2C. Current control circuit 224 receives the control input from calibration register 226. As is known in the art, the tester is calibrated by programming the tester to generate a test signal at a particular time. The actual time at which the test signal is generated is measured to determine the difference between the required time and the actual time at which the tester generated the signal. The calibration value can be calculated from this information. Alternatively, the calibration value is adjusted until the tester actually produces the test signal at the required time, and the calibration value that produces the required result is stored. The contents of the calibration register 226 are determined using the calibration procedure.

The output of fine delay 222 is a differential signal representing a delayed version of the system clock. This is delayed by a fraction of the system clock period. This delay is a multiple of 1/256 of the system clock period. The differential signal is applied to the differential-single end converter 228. The output of the differential-single stage converter 228 is applied to the gating circuit 230.

The input to the gating circuit 230 is a clock signal, that is, a pulse train that occurs at periodic intervals. This is delayed by a programmed amount relative to the system clock. To make a timing edge, one pulse must be selected. Gating circuit 230 selects the required pulse to generate the required edge. Alignment delay circuit 234 provides a control signal that defines a pulse that must be delivered by gating circuit 230 to generate a timing edge at a suitable time.

Alignment delay circuit 234 is described in more detail with respect to FIG. 2D below. The counter 236 is sufficient to say that it receives the most significant bit, or integer part, of the timing data. The counter 236 is reset by T0 or the start of a cycle signal and then counts pulses of the system clock until a predetermined number of periods of the system clock have passed. When the required integer period of the system clock passes, the counter 236 generates a terminal count signal that goes to the alignment delay circuit 234. The alignment delay circuit also receives as inputs bits 4-7 of the timing data and outputs from the delay stage 212. The outputs of delay stages 212 (1) ... 212 (16) are converted into single-ended signals by differential-single stage converters 238 (1) ... 238 (16). This information allows the alignment delay circuit 234 to generate a control signal that allows the desired pulse from the pulse train produced by the fine delay circuit 222 to be delivered to the gating circuit 230. Gating circuits capable of delivering selected pulses from a train of pulses are known and need not be described further.

In Fig. 2E, one representative step of delay stages 212 (0) ... 212 (16) is shown in detail. The terminals labeled IN + and IN- represent single differential input signals. The terminals labeled OUT + and OUT- represent single differential output signals. For delay stages 212 (1) ... 212 (16), the IN + and IN- terminals are connected to the OUT + and OUT- terminals of the preceding step in the delay stage chain, respectively. For stage 212 (0), the IN + and IN− terminals are connected to the system clock shown in FIG. 2A. For stage 212 (160), the OUT + and OUT− terminals are connected to differential-single stage converter 237 (2) shown in FIG. 2A.

Input signals IN + and IN- are applied to differential pairs of transistors 280 and 281. The current at the delay stage 212 is controlled by the control signal VC1 derived from the control circuit in the manner described below with respect to FIG. 2B.

Transistors 283 and 284 act as loads for the differential pairs of transistors 280 and 281. Transistors 285 and 286 coupled in parallel with load transistors 283 and 284 are controlled by control signal VC2, which is derived from control circuit 216 as described below in connection with FIG. 2B.

Transistors 285 and 286 perform a voltage swing at terminals OUT + and OUT- to ensure that the output signal has sufficient swing when delay through delay stage 212 is adjusted by control signal VC1. To control. When the control signal VC1 decreases, the current through the delay cells also decreases. Without transistors 285 and 286, current reduction reduces the voltage drop between transistors 283 and 284. The voltage drop gives the terminals (OUT + and OUT-) a stop voltage near V DD . Since the voltage at OUT + and OUT- does not swing over the V DD voltage V DD is then close to stop reducing the swing.

Therefore, when the control signal VC1 decreases, the control signal VC2 increases, thereby making the stop voltage fairly constant at OUT + and OUT-. The swing at the outputs OUT + and OUT- is therefore maintained through a wide range of values of VC1.

Transistors 288 and 289 along with transistor 287 buffer the signals at terminals OUT + and OUT- such that they can interface with multiplexer 220 (FIG. 2A). The drains of transistors 288 and 289 are current mode coupled to the input of multiplexer 220. The transistor 287 controls the current flowing through the transistor in response to the control signal VC1, thereby controlling the delay through the delay stage 212.

2B, the control circuit 216 is shown in detail. The control circuit 216 includes a charge pump 250 which is common in known delayed synchronization loop techniques. The output of the charge pump is connected to the capacitor 252. The other end of capacitor 252 is connected to the ground to form a low pass filter in a traditional delayed synchronization loop.

In the control circuit 216, the other end of the capacitor 252 is connected to V DD of the voltage supply. The source terminal of transistor 254 is connected in parallel with capacitor 252. The "up" signal from phase detector 214 indicates that delay line 214 is going too fast. Charge pump 250 raises the output voltage in response to the "up" signal from the phase detector, which reduces the voltage drop of capacitor 252. Thus, the gate-source voltage of transistor 254 reduces the source current of transistor 254.

The "down" signal from phase detector 214 affects the source current of transistor 254. Thus, the source current of transistor 254 indicates whether the delay should be increased or decreased through delay line 210.

Transistor 256 is connected in series with transistor 254. As the source current increases in transistor 254, the drain-source current in transistor 256 increases by the same amount. As the current flow in transistor 256 increases, the gate-source voltage of transistor 256 also increases. Thus, the gate-source voltage of transistor 256 is proportional to the voltage of capacitor 252. Since the voltage of the capacitor 252 indicates whether the delay should be increased or decreased through the delay line, the gate-source voltage of the transistor 256 is proportional to the necessary adjustment of the delay and the delay stage (as described above). 212) illustrates a signal represented by VC1, which is an element of the VC signal for controlling delay.

The second element of the control signal VC is the signal VC2, which is also generated by the circuit shown in Fig. 2B. Transistors 257, 258, and 259 collectively constitute a control signal mirror that generates signal VC2 from signal VC1. Gate and drain of transistor 257 are tied to VC1. This point is also tied to the gate of transistor 258, which ensures that the gate of transistor 258 tracks the signal VC1 level. Thus, the current through transistor 258 is proportional to signal VC1. Since the transistor 259 is disposed in series with the transistor 258, this current is also proportional to VC1.

Transistor 259 has a gate and a source tied together. Thus, when signal VC1 increases and the current through transistor 259 increases, the voltage of transistor 259 increases and the source voltage labeled VC2 decreases. In this arrangement, the signal VC2 falls when VC1 increases, providing a required relationship between the signals constituting the control signal VC.

An important aspect of the signal VC is that although it is related to the voltage of the capacitor 252, it is almost independent of the actual value of V DD . If V DD changes, the voltage between the gate and drain of transistor 254 will remain the same, and the current through transistors 254 and 256 will remain unchanged. Since the current flow of the transistor is to command the level of the control signal VC, the control signal is isolated from the variation of the V DD value.

The design provides reduced cross talk compared to the prior art. The way a transient signal causes cross talk is to create a variation in V DD . If the control signal of the delayed synchronization loop is sensitive to a change in the V DD value, the change in V DD causes an unintended change in the control signal and causes timing inaccuracy. For example, if the change in V DD is actually used as a control signal to adjust the delay, the timing inaccuracy is very bad. The control circuit 216 reduces cross talk by making the control signal VC independent of V DD .

In FIG. 2C, the microdelay 222 is shown in more detail. The differential output of multiplexer 220 (FIG. 2A) is applied to differential buffer amplifier 260. The output of differential buffer amplifier 260 is applied as an input to differential-single stage converter 228.

The output of differential buffer amplifier 260 also has a pair of capacitors in series that are switchable to it. The switchably connected capacitors form various loads that can be used to control switching the differential buffer amplifier 260 speed, thereby controlling the delay through the fine delay circuit 222.

Capacitors are represented by 1C, 2C, 4C, and 8C. Capacitors are sized according to their number. The capacitor 2C is twice as large as the capacitor 1C. Capacitor 4C is four times larger than capacitor 1C. The capacitor 8C is eight times larger than the capacitor 1C. In an embodiment, sizing the capacitor can be obtained by simply using multiple capacitors to make a larger capacitor. For example, two capacitors are used to make capacitor 2C and eight capacitors are used to make capacitor 8C.

The capacitors are implemented as pairs, one capacitor of each size being connectably connected to each of the inverting and non-inverting outputs of the differential buffer amplifier 260. This configuration ensures that, with respect to the signal transmission of the output of the differential buffer amplifier 260, there is a constant capacitive load whether the output is sent from logic high to logic low or from logic low to logic high. . The switches represented by X1, X2, X4, and X8 connecting the respective capacitors 1C, 2C, 4C, and 8C may be simply implemented as switching transistors. The size of the switching transistor is adjusted so that the switch resistance varies inversely with the size of the capacitor connected to it. With this ratio of resistors and capacitors, the RC time constants associated with each capacitor / switch pair are the same. Thus, the change in delay introduced when the capacitor is switched at the output of the differential buffer amplifier 260 depends only on the size of the capacitor 1C, 2C, 4C, or 8C and not on the RC time constant of the circuit. The switches X1, X2, X4, and X8 can be implemented by wiring multiple switching transistors in parallel. Two transistors are used to make switch X2 and eight transistors are used to make switch X8.

The sizes of resistors (X1, X2, X4, and X8) and capacitors (1C, 2C, 4C, and 8C) have a delay through the fine delay 222 when all four capacitor pairs are switched to the differential buffer amplifier 260. It is selected to increase by 1/16 of the system clock period. Thus, only when capacitor 1C is switched, the delay should increase by 1/256 of the system clock period. If known calibration and software calibration techniques are used, the calculation of resistance and capacitance values need not be accurate.

The switches X1, X2, X4, and X8 are controlled by bits 0-3 of the timing data. In the described embodiment, this bit indicates the amount of delay that microdelay 222 should add to an increment of 1/256 of the system clock period. With appropriately sized capacitors, bit 0 controls the switch on capacitor 1C, bit 1 controls the switch on capacitor 2C, bit 2 controls the switch on capacitor 4C, and controls the switch on capacitor 8C. We can get this result by having bit 3

2C shows the current control circuit 224 in detail. The current control circuit 224 adjusts the change in the switching speed of the differential buffer amplifier 260 and the speed of the differential-single stage converter 228. The speed of these circuits changes as a result of changes in ambient temperature or changes in on-chip temperature caused by power dissipation in integrated circuits in which the micro delay circuit 222 is implemented. The current control circuit 224 is particularly necessary because the fine delay stage 224 is not the same as the delay stage 212 (Fig. 2B). The fine delay stage 224 will have a different delay characteristic than the delay stage 212 (FIG. 2B) because it is intended to make fine delay adjustments.

The current control circuit 224 operates on the control signal VC1. Control signal VC1 is generated based on propagation delay through delay line 210 (FIG. 2A). In particular, this is based on the deviation of the delay from the intended value. Thus, if the on-chip circuit including delay line 210 and fine delay 222 has a variety of delays than the intended value, VC1 will have a value proportional to the difference. Thus, when the delay changes through the circuit on the chip, VC1 also changes. This VC1 is the change in VC1 in response to the change in delay that causes it to be used to adjust the delay in delay stages 212 (1), 212 (16).

Although the delay through the fine delay 222 is not the same as the delay through any delay stage 212 (1)... 212 (16), the need for delay adjustment in the fine delay 222 is the delay stage 212. (1) ... 212 (16)) may be correlated to the amount of adjustment required by the calibration process. Thus, the control signal VC may not be used to control the delay in the fine delay 222 but may be used to determine an appropriate control signal. Current control 224 determines an appropriate control signal from control signal VC based on the calibration value stored in calibration register 226.

Differential buffer amplifier 260 and differential-single converter 228 are implemented using transistor differential pairs connected in a common source configuration. By controlling the combined current flow, the source, switching speed, and thus delay of the differential pair of differential buffer amplifier 260 and differential-single-ended converter 228 can be controlled. Current control 224 is connected to the common source terminal of the differential pair and thus regulates the delay of fine delay 222.

To provide the required current, control signal VC1 is applied to the gate terminal of transistors 262B ... 262E through a series of switches 264A ... 264D. If the switches 264A ... 264D are shorted, the drain-source current through the associated transistors 262B ... 262E will respectively change in response to a change in the control signal VC1. Transistor 262A is connected to VC1 without the involved switch and always responds to changes in VC1.

The drains of all transistors 262A ... 262E are tied together and connected to a common source of differential pairs within differential buffer amplifier 260. The total current flow through the differential pair is equal to the total current flow through one of the transistors 262A ... 262E connected to the control signal VC1 through each switch 264A ... 264D.

The current flow through the differential pair of differential buffer amplifier 260 and the differential-single-ended converter 228 is thus proportional to the control signal VC1, but the proportional constant is selective for any or all switches 26A ... 264D. Can be adjusted by shorting Since the switch is controlled by the value in the calibration register 226, the value of the calibration register 226 thus controls the gain of the calibration factor relative to the delay of the fine delay 222. Thus, since the delays in delay line 210 (FIG. 2A) and the fine delay 222 are linearly correlated, this is effective in the proximity of circuits made in the same integrated circuit chip, and a single control signal can be used for each delay. Differences, layouts or other factors can be used in the circuit design that prevent them from being used to control. Any error introduced by using the same control signal to adjust the delay in delay line 210 and fine delay 222 can be corrected through a calibration process where an appropriate value for calibration register 226 is determined.

In a preferred embodiment, transistors 262B ... 262E are sized to provide different current gains. The gain is a binary number weighted corresponding to the bit position in calibration register 226. As shown, transistor 262C has twice the gain of transistor 262B. The 262D has four times the gain of the 262B and the 262E has eight times the gain of the 262B. The net effect of this weight is that the calibration signal 226 can effectively multiply the control signal VC1 by the value. The value of calibration register 226 is selected through a calibration measurement process to provide the required delay through microdelay 222.

Since transistor 262A is always set on, it adds a fixed offset to the control current to differential amplifier 260. In an embodiment, transistor 262A is sized to have a current gain that is about three times that of transistor 262B. Fine delay stage 222 and transistor 262A are designed so that all switches 264A ... 264D are open so that delay through fine delay stage 222 is slightly slower than the required delay of fine delay 222. do. Simulation or experimentation may be required to determine the correction magnitude of the component. In an embodiment, transistor 262B has a gain that is 1/16 of the size of transistor 256 (FIG. 2B).

The delay through the differential-single amplifier 228 may also be controlled by VC1. VC1 is connected to the gate of transistor 256F and can regulate the current through amplifier 228.

In FIG. 2D the alignment delay circuit 234 is shown in detail. Alignment delay 234 has two identical units 270A and 270B. Units 270A and 270B generate a gating signal for successive cycles of tester operation. Router circuit 272 sends control information to the appropriate one of unit 270A or 270B and obtains a gating signal from the appropriate unit during each tester cycle. Thus, the router circuit 272 is a simple circuit that alternates during each tester cycle between units.

Since units 270A and 270B are identical, only a detailed description of unit 270A is shown. For each cycle where unit 270A is an active unit, it outputs a gating signal that is roughly centered around the pulse to the output of fine delay 222 (FIG. 2A) that represents the desired timing edge. In an embodiment, the system clock has a period of 10 nanoseconds. The gating signal has a duration of about 5 nanoseconds. In this way, only a single clock pulse is selected to provide the edge output of timing generator 116.

Unit 270A consists of a chain of flip-flops 274A ... 274K. The input of the chain comes from the counter 236 (FIG. 2A) and is sent through the router circuit 272. There is no output from unit 270A until counter 236 counts the required delay as an integer number of system clock periods.

Each of each flip-flop 274A ... 274K is clocked by the output of delay stages 212 (1) ... 212 (16) (Figure 2A). Since the accuracy of the differential signal is not required for alignment delay 234, this output is converted to a single ended signal by differential-single-ended converters 238 (1) ... 238 (16) (FIG. 2A). The outputs of all delay stages 212 (1) ... 212 (16) need not be directed to the alignment delay circuit 234. As explained below, only the outputs of all other delay stages 212 (1) ... 212 (16) are used by the alignment delay 234. Thus, of the 16 possible outputs of delay line 210, only eight are sent to alignment delay 234.

The clock input to flip-flop 274A is coupled to a signal from one of delay stages 212 (n). The clock input to flip-flop 274B is coupled to the signal from delay stage 212 (n + 2). The connection to each next flip-flop is made in this pattern until the delay from stage 212 (16) is assigned to one of the flip-flops. It is then connected to the output of delay stage 212 (2) and, with the next flip-flop, the pattern wraps around. The value of n is selected such that the delay from the start of delay line 210 (FIG. 2A) to delay stage 212 (n) is approximately equal to the propagation delay from counter 236 to flip-flop 274A.

Since each delay stage 212 (1) ... 212 (16) delays the system clock by 1/16 of the system clock period (0.625 nanoseconds in this example), the train (274A ... 274K) The time difference between the signals clocking adjacent flip-flops at is 1.25 nanoseconds. Thus, when the terminal count signal is generated by the counter 236, the output of each flip-flop in columns 274A ... 274K goes high at times of incremental increments of 1.25 nanoseconds. In a preferred embodiment, the terminal count signal from the counter 236 remains high for 10 nanoseconds. Thus, when the counter 236 counts to introduce the necessary delay, a series of 10 nanosecond pulses separated by 1.25 nanoseconds are generated by the columns of flip-flops 274A ... 274K. Two of these signals are selected to form a suitable gating signal.

Each of the AND gates 276 (0) ... 276 (7) combines the two outputs of the flip-flop in columns 274A ... 274K. The flip-flops combined by each of the AND gates 276 (0) ... 276 (7) are selected to be spaced apart by four flip-flops. Thus, inputs to AND gate 276 (0) are derived from flip-flops 274A and 274D. Input to AND gate 276 (1) is derived from flip-flops 274B and 274E. Inputs to the remaining AND gates are also selected in this pattern.

Since the inputs to each AND gate 276 (0) ... 276 (7) are four flip-flops apart and the delay between the pulses generated by each flip-flop is 1.25 nanoseconds, the AND gate 276 (0 The delay between the two inputs for each of ...... 276 (7)) is 5 nanoseconds. Each input pulse has a width of 10 nanoseconds. With a relative delay of 5 nanoseconds between the pulses, the overlap of the two pulses is approximately 5 nanoseconds. Thus, the output of each AND gate 276 (0) ... 276 (7) is a pulse having a width of 5 nanoseconds. Each pulse is delayed by 1.25 nanoseconds for the preceding pulse.

 The output of one of the AND gates 276 (0) ... 276 (7) is a pulse having a width of 5 nanoseconds, and is approximately centered on the pulse required for the output of the fine delay 222 (FIG. 2A). . Which of the outputs is a suitable gating signal depends on which delay stage 212 (1) ... 212 (16) is selected by the multiplexer 220, after which AND gate 276 (0). ) Is the proper signal. If the output of delay stage 212 (3) or 212 (4) is selected, then the output of AND gate 276 (1) is the appropriate signal. The mapping continues in this pattern, with the output of AND gate 276 (7) showing the appropriate gating signal when delay stage 212 (5) or 212 (6) is selected.

In this pattern, the timing bits that control the selection of one output of the delay stages 212 (1) ... 212 (16) are also defined by which of the AND gates 276 (0) ... 276 (7). Command whether it should be selected. Multiplexer 278 selects the appropriate output of AND gates 276 (0) ... 276 (7) based on the same timing bits. However, because the output of one AND gate is used to generate an appropriate gating signal for either of the two delay stages, the lower order bits used to control the multiplexer 220 are used to control the multiplexer 278. Is not necessary. Thus, FIG. 2D shows that timing bits 5-7 are applied to router circuit 272 and then to multiplexer 278.

The output of the multiplexer 278 is provided to the router circuit 272. The router circuit 272 sends this signal through the output, which is used as a gating signal for the gating circuit 230. The falling edge of the signal from multiplexer 278 also indicates that the required edge has occurred. Thus, unit 270A is no longer needed for this cycle of tester operation. Upon recognizing the falling edge, the router circuit changes unit 270B to an active unit. The falling edge of the output of the multiplexer 278 may also be used for other purposes within the timing generator 116. For example, timing data bits 0-7 remain constant until the falling edge occurs. Thus, the falling edge can be used to trigger a change in timing bits 0-7 from one period to the next.

Two units 270A and 270B are used to allow for a lower "refire recovery time". The repair recovery time indicates the minimum time difference that can be specified between successive edges from the same timing generator 116. In a preferred embodiment with a 100 MHz system clock, the repair recovery time is less than 10 nanoseconds or less than the system clock period. Low repair recovery time is important to allow very flexible programming of test signal timing. If the repair recovery time is longer than one period of the system clock, there will be some setting for the tester cycle length during which the edge generator 116 cannot fire during each tester cycle. If the tester cycle length is set to its smallest value, in the example given here, the result is a tester cycle of 10 nanoseconds. If the repair recovery time is longer than 10 nanoseconds, it means that if the edge generator generates an edge in one cycle, it cannot generate an edge in the next cycle. Reducing the repair recovery time greatly increases the flexibility of the tester.

For the embodiment of FIG. 2D, unit 270A generates a gating signal in one period. Unit 270B generates the gating signal in the next period. Thus, the repair recovery time is commanded by the time difference that must elapse between the time that unit 270A generates the gating signal and the time that unit 270B generates the gating signal. In a preferred embodiment, the gating signals generated by units 270A and 270B are each 5 nanoseconds wide and centered at the programmed timing edges.

By reducing the time between occurrence of the gating signal, the repair recovery time can be further reduced. However, the output of delay stages 212 (1) ... 212 (16) is a delay controlled through the use of feedback signal VC. They are relatively less sensitive to variations in temperature or other factors that may change the delay through the timing generator's circuit. There is no such delay control in the sort delay 234. As a result, the relative time difference between the signals coming out of the fine delay 222 and the alignment delay 234 fluctuates to a lesser degree. For that reason, each gating signal is made 5 nanoseconds wide, as illustrated here by number.

In addition, it is necessary that the output of the fine delay 222 be brought to a steady state even after the change of timing data. In a preferred embodiment, it has a maximum of 5 nanoseconds. Thus, the end of one gating signal and the start of the next gating signal need to be separated in time by at least this settling time. By combining these numbers, in the preferred embodiment the resulting repair recovery time is up to 10 nanoseconds.

In a manner similar to the method used to control delay through fine delay 222 or delay stage 212, control signal VC can also be used to control delay through alignment delay 234. The width of each gating pulse is made smaller than that shown in FIG. 2D by ANDing the outputs of the flip-flops with close spacing to each other at AND gates 276 (0) ... 276 (7). Can lose.

In FIG. 3, an implementation of a single integrated circuit chip of the timing generator 116 for a plurality of channels 114 (FIG. 1) is shown. 3 illustrates a portion of an integrated circuit chip 300 to schematically illustrate the placement of the circuit on the chip. In a preferred embodiment, chip 300 is a CMOS chip implemented using standard design techniques. In a preferred embodiment, the chip 300 has a die size of 14.5 mm square.

A plurality of interpolators, such as 116 (FIG. 2A), are assembled on chip 300. In a preferred embodiment, interpolators for four channels are implemented on chip 300. The test system includes many such chips, with the result that numerous channels are provided within the test system. In the preferred embodiment, there are eight interpolators 116A ... 116H per channel. The entire circuit of FIG. 2A is repeated for each interpolator except for the calibration register 226, which in a preferred embodiment is repeated once for each channel.

The control circuit 310 is a digital circuit necessary to control the interpolator and is a conventional circuit. Counter 236 and alignment delay 234 are both part of this control circuit 310.

Interpolators 116A ... 116H for a single channel are enclosed in guard ring 318. Guard ring 318 ensures that signals from interpolators in one channel do not interfere with interpolators in other channels. This reduces cross talk between channels. Each interpolator is surrounded by guard rings 316A ... 316H. Those guard rings reduce cross talk in the channel. Assembly of the guard ring is described in detail below with respect to FIG. 4. Guard rings 318 and 316A ... 316H also prevent the disturbances generated by digital control circuit 310 from reaching interpolators 116A ... 116H.

Each interpolator 116A ... 116H has a respective capacitor 252A ... 252H associated with them. Greater crosstalk has been found to occur when all interpolators in a channel share a single capacitor, delay line 210, phase detector 214, and control circuit 216. Thus, using separate capacitors, delay lines, and associated control circuits for each channel results in significantly reduced cross talk.

3 also shows that separate ground, isolation, and power connections are used for each channel. Isolation input / output pads 312 are connected to guard rings 318 or 316A ... 316H. Furthermore, ground, isolation, and power lines are Kelvin connected to the input / output pads of the chip 300. In particular, ground and power connections are sent to input / output pads 312, 312, and 314 through separate traces. Using separate traces reduces cross coupling between circuits connected through these traces. Where the two circuits share a common line through which current flows, such as power or ground, the current flow along the common line creates a voltage drop across the line. The change in voltage drop caused by a change in current flow from one circuit also appears in the other circuit as noise on the common line. This noise represents cross coupling. Since the isolation lines do not carry large amounts of current, they do not need to be Calvin connected. However, in some embodiments, cross talk may be further reduced by Kelvin connection to the isolation line of the input / output pads.

Although the isolation line is connected to ground, using separate isolation lines further reduces cross coupling. 3 shows that all power lines for interpolators on channel 1 are connected to input / output pads 314. All ground lines for interpolators on channel 1 are connected to input / output pads 313. All isolation lines for interpolators on channel 1 are connected to input / output pads 312. Similar connections are made with different pads for each of the other channels on the chip 300.

In Figure 4, a detailed description of the implementation of the ground band is shown. Chip 300 is shown having a p-type substrate. Various areas are shown in which the actual circuit is made according to standard design techniques. In FIG. 4, region 412A houses interpolator 116A. Region 412B houses interpolator 116B. Other regions (not shown) accommodate other circuits.

Guard rings 318, 316A and 316B are doped p + type trough around the appropriate circuit area. The trough wraps the circuitry as shown in FIG. These doped regions are then connected to the input / output pads 312 using metal traces 412 across the surface of the chip 300.

4 shows a further improvement in the chip 300. In region 410, metal traces for power, ground, and isolation are sent to their pads. Regions 410 are side by side around chip 300. An additional guard layer is used in the substrate of the chip 300 below the routing area 410. N-type region 414 is doped in the substrate. n + region 416 is formed in region 414. n + region 416 continues to ground pad 312. In this way, region 414 acts as an additional barrier against noise that may cause cross talk. The main purpose of the region 414 is to isolate the metal traces 412 from digital noise such as may be generated by the control circuit 310. Preferably, guard layer 410 extends significantly below all routing areas.

By using a guard region such as 316, 318, or 414, the timing error due to cross talk in the interpolator is greatly reduced. Reducing cross talk allows multiple channels to be placed on a single chip. Increasing the number of channels on a single chip has many advantages. This greatly reduces the overall size and cost of the test system. Most of the cost of a test system is in the circuitry needed to implement the channel. By injecting more channels on one chip, the amount of circuitry is reduced. Smaller traces are required for printed circuit boards, with the result being smaller and smaller printed circuit boards.

By describing one embodiment, numerous alternative embodiments or variations can be made. For example, several techniques have been shown to reduce cross talk of tests with high channel density. All these techniques do not have to be used at the same time. These techniques can be used independently to obtain significant advantages.

In addition, in some cases, the circuitry goes down to the transistor level. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that other transistor layouts are also the same as those disclosed in the detailed description.

In addition, it has been described that four tester channels are assembled on each CMOS. Preferably, although there are two channels per chip, any number of channels can be implemented on a single chip. However, four or more channels are more preferred.

In addition, the chip need not be CMOS. CMOS is a preferred implementation because it is widely used. However, other semiconductor technologies may be used. Others may be suitable for other applications. For example, GaAs circuits are suitable for high-speed test systems that operate at 400 MHz or higher system clock speeds.

Another possible change is the number of interpolators for each timing generator. Eight edges have been described for each timing generator. Less edges may be used. For example, some automated test devices are built with as few as three timing edges per timing generator. More than eight timing edges are possible. More timing edges provide greater flexibility in programming automated test equipment.

As another example of a change, FIG. 2B shows that a control signal is generated based on the voltage across capacitor 252, which acts as a filter capacitor. Thus, since the filtered output signal is taken to the voltage across capacitor 252, the improvement of FIG. 2B makes the control signal less susceptible to noise on the power interface. In general, such a capacitor is connected to ground, and the filtered output signal is taken at a voltage level at one terminal of the capacitor. If the capacitor 252 has one terminal connected to ground instead of V DD , the advantage of the present invention is obtained as a circuit design that derives a signal from the voltage across the capacitor 252.

It has also been described that the guard ring is formed by doping p + type impurities into the substrate. Other methods of forming the guard ring can also be used. The guard ring should preferably be conductive and isolated from the circuit on the chip by a reverse biased semiconductor contact. For example, if an n-type substrate is used, n + -type impurities are used to form the guard ring.

Accordingly, the invention is limited only by the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

Claims (31)

  1. In an automated test apparatus for testing semiconductor devices:
    a) a clock having a clock period;
    b) an electronic circuit forming a plurality of channels 114; And
    c) a plurality of integrated circuit chips 300; Including;
    Each channel 114 is clocked by the clock and can be programmed with at least one counter 236 with an output and with a resolution less than the clock period and the edge signal at a time after the output of the counter 236. A timing generator 116 having at least one delay element 116A-116H for generating,
    The electronics for the plurality of channels 114 are implemented on each integrated circuit chip 300 such that the electronics for the plurality of channels 114 are implemented on the plurality of integrated circuit chips 300. Automatic test device, characterized in that.
  2. 2. The automatic test apparatus of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of integrated circuit chips includes means for suppressing cross talk between electronic circuits for the channel implemented on each integrated circuit chip.
  3. 3. The integrated circuit of claim 2, wherein each integrated circuit chip comprises a plurality of input / output pads, and wherein the means for suppressing cross talk comprises a plurality of first rings formed on the integrated circuit chip, wherein each first ring is Automatic test device characterized in that it is connected to the input / output pad surrounding the delay element for one channel.
  4. 4. The automatic test apparatus of claim 3, wherein the at least one counter for each of the plurality of channels is located outside of the first ring.
  5. 4. The automated test apparatus of claim 3, wherein the first ring for each of the plurality of channels is connected to separate input / output pads.
  6. 4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the at least one counter comprises a plurality of counters, the at least one delay element comprises a plurality of delay elements, and the means for suppressing the cross talk comprises a plurality of counters formed on an integrated circuit chip. And a second ring, each ring surrounding individual ones of the plurality of delay elements for the channel.
  7. 2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one counter comprises a plurality of counters, the at least one delay element comprises a plurality of delay elements, each delay element comprising a plurality of delay stages, a phase detector, and the phase And a delay synchronous loop having a charge pump coupled to the detector, and a capacitor having two terminals and a first terminal coupled to the charge pump.
  8. 8. The automated test apparatus of claim 7, wherein the second terminal of each capacitor is connected to a power line on an integrated circuit chip.
  9. 9. The apparatus of claim 8, further comprising, for each capacitor, a transistor having a gate terminal and at least two other terminals, the gate terminal connected to a first terminal of the capacitor and a second terminal of the capacitor And an automatic test device, connected to the second terminal.
  10. 10. The automated test apparatus of claim 9, wherein the third terminal of each transistor is connected to a current mirror transistor.
  11. 11. The automatic test apparatus according to claim 10, wherein the output of the current mirror transistor is used to generate at least one control signal for each delay stage in the delay synchronization loop.
  12. 11. The automatic test apparatus of claim 10, wherein the output of the current mirror transistor is used to generate two control signals for each delay stage.
  13. 8. The control circuit according to claim 7, wherein each delay stage has a control input, means for generating a current signal proportional to the voltage across the capacitor, and connected to the control input of each delay stage and generating a control signal in response to the current signal. An automatic test apparatus further comprising means for.
  14. 2. The circuit of claim 1, wherein each delay element has power and ground connections, the integrated circuit chip has a plurality of input / output pads, some of the plurality of input / output pads are power input / output pads and some of the ground. An input / output pad and a trace, wherein said individual trace is between the power connection and power input / output pad of each delay element.
  15. 15. The automated test apparatus of claim 14, wherein each integrated circuit chip further comprises individual traces between the ground connection and ground input / output pads of each delay element.
  16. 16. The automated test apparatus of claim 15, further comprising a plurality of conductive rings in the integrated circuit chip, each conductive ring surrounding at least one delay element.
  17. 16. The automated test apparatus of claim 15, wherein each integrated circuit chip further comprises a trace extending between each conductive ring and the input / output pads.
  18. 18. The device of claim 17, wherein the plurality of traces between the delay element and the input / output pads pass through a routing layer and a guard layer in the semiconductor chip substrate below the routing region, the guard layer being connected to the input / output pads. Automatic test device, characterized in that.
  19. 2. The automated test apparatus of claim 1, wherein the number of channels on each integrated circuit chip is at least two.
  20. 20. The automated test apparatus of claim 19, wherein the number of channels on each chip is four.
  21. An automatic test apparatus for testing a semiconductor device, the automatic test apparatus comprising:
    a) a clock;
    b) a delay line 210 composed of a plurality of delay stages 212, each delay stage 212 having an input, an output and a control input, the input of the first delay stage 212 (0) being coupled to a clock and And the input of all other delay stages is delay line 210 coupled to the output of the preceding stage in the delay line.
    c) a phase detector 214 having a first input coupled to the output of the delay stage in the delay line 210 and having a second input coupled to the output of the preceding delay stage in the delay line 210; And
    d) a control circuit 216 having an input coupled to the output of the phase detector 214 and having an output coupled to the control input of each delay stage in the delay line 210; .
  22. 22. The automated test apparatus of claim 21, wherein the preceding delay stage is at least a second delay stage.
  23. 22. The apparatus of claim 21, wherein the automatic test device comprises a plurality of channel circuits, each channel circuit having a plurality of timing generators for generating one test signal and for generating one timing edge signal, the delay Lines, phase detectors, and control circuits form part of one timing generator, and, like delay lines, phase detectors and control circuits are included for each timing generator for each channel circuit, the circuitry being integrated circuits. And wherein each integrated circuit chip contains channel circuits for at least four channels.
  24. An automated test apparatus for testing semiconductor devices, the automated test apparatus comprising:
    a) a clock;
    b) a delay line 210 consisting of a plurality of delay stages 212, each delay stage 212 having an input, an output and a control input, the input of the first delay stage 212 (0) coupled to a clock; A delay line 210, the input of all other delay stages being coupled to the output of the preceding stage in the delay line;
    c) a phase detector 214 having a first input coupled to the output of the delay stage in the delay line 210 and having a second input coupled to the input of the preceding delay stage of the delay line 210;
    d) a control circuit 216 having an input coupled to the output of the phase detector 214 and having an output coupled to the control input of each delay stage in the delay line 210,
    The automatic test device is:
    e) a fine delay stage 222 that is selectively coupled to a signal from one of the delay stages 212, the delay being in the multi-bit digital input and the fine delay stage such that the delay can be programmed through the fine delay stage. The fine delay stage 222 having a control input to adjust a value; And
    f) a circuit (224) coupled to the output of the control circuit (216) for inducing a fine delay stage control signal from the output of the control circuit (216).
  25. 25. The apparatus of claim 24, wherein the circuitry for inducing the fine delay stage control signal comprises means for scaling the output of the control circuit in response to a calibration value.
  26. 26. The device of claim 25, wherein the means for scaling the output of the control circuit comprises a plurality of transistors, each transistor having a terminal connected to the control input of the fine delay stage and a gate terminal connected to the output of the control circuit. Automatic testing device made.
  27. 27. The apparatus of claim 26, wherein each gate terminal of the plurality of transistors is connected to an output of the control circuit through a switch, the automatic test apparatus further comprising a calibration register having a plurality of output lines, each output line being An automatic test device configured to operate one of the switches.
  28. 27. The automated test apparatus of claim 26, wherein different ones of the plurality of transistors have different sizes.
  29. 25. The automated test apparatus of claim 24, wherein the fine delay stage comprises an amplifier having an output in which a plurality of capacitive loads are switchably connected.
  30. 30. The method of claim 29, wherein each capacitive load has a predetermined capacitance and is connected through a separate switch having a predetermined resistance value, the size of each switch being the capacitance of the capacitive load and the resistance value of each individual switch. And the product of is set to have the same predetermined value.
  31. 30. The automated test apparatus of claim 29, wherein the amplifier is comprised of a differential amplifier, the output comprises two differential lines, and the capacitive load is connected to each of the two differential lines.
KR1020007001210A 1997-08-05 1998-07-22 Low cost cmos tester with high channel density KR100600038B1 (en)

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US08/906,532 1997-08-05
US08/906,532 US6073259A (en) 1997-08-05 1997-08-05 Low cost CMOS tester with high channel density
PCT/US1998/015256 WO1999008125A1 (en) 1997-08-05 1998-07-22 Low cost cmos tester with high channel density

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